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ricardisimo 11-28-2013 12:48 PM

Week 13 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Ravens 11/28/2013
The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing their best football of the season, but are still on the outside of the muddled AFC playoff picture. With a Thanksgiving night visit to the archrival Baltimore Ravens, they face a team that's essentially in the exact same position.
Both AFC North teams are among the half-dozen teams in the conference currently tied for the final wild-card berth, making this game a potentially season-altering contest.
"That team is hot," Ravens running back Ray Rice said of the Steelers. "They're playing good football right now. They have (a) group, they have their stable of how they want to play football and they're doing a good job of it right now."
The two teams are tied with Titans, Chargers, Jets and Dolphins for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC, though Tennessee would make the cut currently. The top two tiebreakers for the wild card are head-to-head record and winning percentage within the conference, and with Baltimore having already lost in Pittsburgh, the Ravens may be especially desperate Thursday.
"They are a tough team, we have to go into their place and look forward to a good battle," said Steelers wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. "There is a lot on the line with this game like it always is when we play them. It always seems like whenever either team is trying to get somewhere, the other is in their way.
"It's that way this week as we are battling in the division and it's going to be a good game Thanksgiving night."
Pittsburgh (5-6) has won three games in a row, all by double-digits. During the stretch, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been mostly mistake-free, completing 63.3 percent of his passes while throwing seven touchdowns to just one interception.
Roethlisberger threw for two scores in a 27-11 win at Cleveland in Week 12, but the Steelers' best performance came from their defense. The unit had a season-high five sacks, held the Browns to just 55 rushing yards, and cornerback William Gay sealed the win in the fourth quarter with a 21-yard interception return for a touchdown.
"Defensively, it was simple. We were able to stop the run, and that put us in position to apply pressure to the quarterback," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. "In doing so, we were able to create some turnovers and some big plays, and to actually score."
The Steelers have given up just 4.97 yards per play during their streak after New England shredded them for 8.59 per snap in a 55-31 loss Nov. 3, and they could have another good chance to shine Thursday. The Ravens' offense ranks 31st in the NFL, averaging just 4.54 yards per play.
When the teams met on Oct. 20 at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh held the Ravens out of the end zone until Baltimore tied the score at 16 with 1:58 to play. Roethlisberger then drove the Steelers down the field, setting up a game-winning 42-yard field goal from Shaun Suisham.
That close contest was hardly an exception to the rivals' recent matchups. Since the start of the 2009 season, eight of the teams' nine meetings have been decided by exactly three points.
Baltimore (5-6) also is coming off of a win dominated by its defense, having knocked off the New York Jets 19-3 on Sunday. The Ravens' pass defense was outstanding, allowing Geno Smith to compete just 40.9 percent of his throws, and Baltimore cornerback Corey Graham had a pair of interceptions.
"In the end, we just felt like let's win a game just for the defense, for us," cornerback Lardarius Webb said. "Not nobody else, just defense let's go out and try to win a game on our own."
The Ravens have been a much better team this season at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore is 4-1 at home, allowing just 10.8 points per game in those contests.
The Steelers have won three of their last five visits to Baltimore, though, including a 23-20 win last December with Charlie Batch filling in for an injured Roethlisberger. The Ravens have lost only five of their other 42 home games since 2009.
Though having such an important game on a short week makes for potentially challenging circumstances, the two sides won't have to go through much new information.
"We'll be running stuff that we know and understand against a team that we pretty much understand," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I'm sure there will be a wrinkle or two that they'll throw at us that we'll have to be ready for and just go play football."
There's one wrinkle Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco would prefer his team not employ, however. Baltimore used backup QB Tyrod Taylor in the wildcat often against the Jets, with Taylor taking five snaps and lining up as a receiver on seven other plays.
Flacco was not a fan.
"I don't like that stuff. ... I'm the quarterback," Flacco said. "I want to be behind the line of scrimmage, I want to be taking the snaps."

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ricardisimo 11-28-2013 12:49 PM

Re: Week 13 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Ravens 11/28/2013
Game 12 matchup: Steelers vs. Ravens

November 27, 2013 9:39 PM
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When the Ravens have the ball: Ray Rice has run tentatively and is failing to gain yards after contact. He has carried 156 times for 450 yards -- just 2.9 yards per carry. Bernard Pierce, averages 2.7 yards a rush. The Ravens rushed 26 times for 82 yards in the first meeting Oct. 20 at Heinz Field and did not have a run longer than 13 yards. That is the second lowest rushing total allowed by the Steelers. Part of the reason for the poor running game has been the line, where the Ravens had to trade for LT Eugene Monroe to replace ineffective Bryant McKinnie and A.Q. Shipley has replaced injured Kelechi Osemele at left guard. Center Gino Gradkowski has struggled in protection, part of the reason quarterback Joe Flacco has been sacked 37 times, second most in the league. The Steelers have 10 sacks in their past three games. Flacco, though, remains one of the best deep passers in the league. His favorite target is WR Torrey Smith (17.9 ypc, 48 catches).
When the Steelers have the ball: The Ravens' front seven remains formidable, led by NT Haloti Ngata and the sack-happy outside linebacker tandem of Terrell Suggs (9 sacks) and Elvis Dumervil (91/2). DE Arthur Jones, who will line up against RT Marcus Gilbert, is next with four. Darryl Smith leads the team with 89 tackles and also has 31/2 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 forced fumbles and is tied for the team lead with 14 passes defensed. Jimmy Smith is a big, physical cornerback who has emerged as the team's top cornerback, but CB Lardarius Webb is getting healthy after coming off his second reconstructive knee surgery in three years. He likely will match up with Antonio Brown, who leads the NFL with 80 catches and the AFC with 1,044 receiving yards. Nickel back Corey Graham leads the team with three INTs. The Ravens have had problems in the middle of the field after losing both safeties, Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard, after the 2012 season. Rookie Matt Elam doesn't make many plays, but James Ihedigbo has replaced Pollard as a physical presence.
Keep an eye on: TE Dallas Clark ... He caught the tying touchdown in the first meeting as a suitable replacement for tight end Dennis Pitta, who was on short-term injured reserve. Pitta, though, has resumed practicing and could play against the Steelers. After a slow start in which he dropped passes, Clark, 34, has 30 catches for 335 yards and three touchdowns. If Pitta returns, that gives Flacco two dependable targets in the middle of the field.
Intangibles: The Steelers have won three in a row and five of their past seven. The Ravens have lost four of their past six but are coming off a 19-3 victory against the Jets. ... The Steelers have won two in a row against the Ravens, including 19-16 Oct. 20 at Heinz Field. Eight of the past 10 meetings have been decided by three points. In those eight games, each team has scored a combined 139 points, an average of 17 points per game. ... The Ravens have won eight of their past nine home games against AFC North Division teams, with the lone loss coming in 2012 to the Steelers. They also are 10-1 at home in November under John Harbaugh and 7-1 in prime time in the same span.
To win, the Ravens must ...
1. Get men on Ben. Roethlisberger has 11 touchdowns in the past four games and is tied for the league lead with 47 passes of 20-plus yards.
2. Ground Brown. The NFL's leading receiver has three touchdowns in the past two games and at least one catch of 40-plus yards in each of the past three.
3. Get Torrey some glory. Ike Taylor has allowed a combined 328 yards receiving to Calvin Johnson and Josh Gordon the past two games.
To win, the Steelers must ...
1. Dice Rice. The Ravens running game is more anemic than the Steelers, averaging just 2.9 yards per attempt, tied for worst in the league.
2. Sack-o Flacco. Only one other quarterback -- Miami's Ryan Tannehill -- has been sacked more times than the reigning Super Bowl MVP.
3. Mug Suggs. A five-time Pro Bowler, who has 161/2 career sacks against Roethlisberger, has not had a sack the past three games.

harrison'samonster 11-28-2013 01:39 PM

Re: Week 13 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Ravens 11/28/2013
Steelers are going to keep on rolling through Baltimore tonight! Offense is going to have a great game, and protect the ball.

zcoop 11-28-2013 03:05 PM

Re: Week 13 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Ravens 11/28/2013

Originally Posted by harrison'samonster (Post 1220670)
Steelers are going to keep on rolling through Baltimore tonight! Offense is going to have a great game, and protect the ball.

Beating the Rats twice this year would be great and at this time of the year too? Wow!

harrison'samonster 11-28-2013 03:08 PM

Re: Week 13 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Ravens 11/28/2013

Originally Posted by zcoop (Post 1220687)
Beating the Rats twice this year would be great and at this time of the year too? Wow!

Happy Thanksgiving indeed! I would love to see more than anything us just run the ball and control the game. I think we can. It seems to me every time we are serious contenders we can run the ball against Baltimore. Let's get them again tonight!

SteelCity615 11-28-2013 03:29 PM

Re: Week 13 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Ravens 11/28/2013
First off Happy Thanksgiving to the Steelers family. Next I gotta say this is by far our biggest game this season. With a win here we take sole position of the sixth seed with a date with the Bengals in the future. I feel if we can pull this out it could spring board us forward for the rest of the season. I'm super excited guys let's get it done.:tt03::tt03::tt03:

White_Steel_Wolfe 11-28-2013 03:45 PM

Re: Week 13 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Ravens 11/28/2013
Steelers by 10!

WVABE 11-28-2013 05:20 PM

Re: Week 13 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Ravens 11/28/2013
Bet someone wins by a field goal.

White_Steel_Wolfe 11-28-2013 07:04 PM

Re: Week 13 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Ravens 11/28/2013

Originally Posted by WVABE (Post 1220695)
Bet someone wins by a field goal.

Not tonight!

SH-Rock 11-28-2013 07:08 PM

Re: Week 13 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Ravens 11/28/2013
Woodley is out.

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